Tuesday, May 10, 2011


You can't read anything rolling off the presses at 25 Broadway these days without a dictionary. Nothing is as it seems and nothing reads as was intended. We are overwhelmed by jargon and cliche.

Just look at the materials for the May 12 Board of Trustees meeting. Two examples suffice:

~ In her cover Memo, the Board Chair announces "...an extremely robust agenda..." -- what the hell is that? "Strong, healthy, hardy, vigorous?" Can an "agenda" be any of those things? Yes, we could have "robust debate" but that isn't the same thing is it? And that's not what JFNA's leaders want, is it? No, "robust" has now been relegated to jargon, to cliche, to a word without meaning at JFNA.

~ Then, in the Agenda itself. Describing an Agenda matter on the Global Planning Table: "A perspective on the imperative for developing the Global Planning Table, an overview of the issues critical to its success and a discussion on key strategic questions." And, just whose "perspective" is that? So far, from discussions with men and women who attended "feedback" ("they should have been called 'spoonfeed' sessions" one said) sessions, the one word, among many, that JFNA has never heard has been "imperative." Why? Because "imperative" means "absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable." Perhaps, in the jargon of JFNA, the noun definition applies -- "a command." The monarchy dictates the command and we are required to have a GPT. So, as I read the Agenda, someone or ones will tell us why we must have a GPT, this GPT and the "feedback" (almost completely negative)...ignored. That's the imperative.

~ The Global Planning Table materials for the JFNA Board Meeting distributed by e-mail from the Board Chair yesterday -- and asking for comments, if any, to be sent to her -- are now so parve as to suggest that the GPT will be totally benign. Second Membership Criterion as a condition of participation -- not even a mention (just an aside that a collective allocation will be a requirement of participation). Hidden behind the jargon remains the basic deconstruction of the collective system that has ennobled the federation system. It remains clear that this leadership still has no clue what "collective responsibility" means. Those who participated in the so-called "Feedback sessions" were told that minutes were being taken of each such session -- why not distribute those?

Oh, yes, the Agenda indicates that the Board will appropriately honor the outgoing Chairs of Young Leadership and the National Campaign Chair (who at some point agreed that we are no longer in the "Campaign business" -- we are in something called, in JFNA jargon, Philanthropic Resources).



Anonymous said...

If you use big fancy words then maybe people will think you know what you are talking about :)

Anonymous said...

Is there substance to anything they do with my/our money?

Anonymous said...

That depends on whose definition of substance you want to use. The JFNA definition would probably include Tribefest, What's your "ish", Jewish heroes, etc.